Ennis Del Mar - Brokeback Mountain

Heath Ledger in a hat and jacket as farm hand Ennis Del Mar from the film Brokeback Mountain. There are mountains and rolling hills and trees in the background.
Ennis Del Mar - Brokeback Mountain
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This signed publicity portrait of Heath Ledger as Ennis Del Mar was created to promote the film Brokeback Mountain (2005). Ledger looks every bit the part of an American sheep herder in the 1960s, wearing a cowboy hat and denim jeans, with his dogs and knapsack nearby. His pained expression here echoes the emotionally tortured situation Ennis finds himself in - in love with his best friend Jack, but unwilling to start a life with him for fear of violence and being separated from his children.

The natural beauty of the film’s setting is showcased in the image with mountains and forest in the background. The film was set in Wyoming in the Rocky Mountains and filmed in the Canadian Rockies in southern Alberta.

It’s amazing to see how much Ledger has matured as an actor from his first US role in 10 Things I Hate About You (Gil Junger, USA, 1999) to his layered and emotionally rich performance in Brokeback, when you compare this image with the publicity shot of him as a teen idol in 10 Things. It is poignant to imagine what he would have gone on to do if it weren’t for his untimely death. A character actor at heart, Ledger was determined to always break new ground with each role.

Brokeback Mountain is an important film in Ledger’s career. Del Mar has little to say, so Ledger’s performance is masterfully told through body language and facial expression. He won many awards for the performance, including the New York Film Critics’ Circle Award and the San Francisco Film Critics’ Circle for Best Actor and Best International Actor from the Australian Film Institute (AFI). He was nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role and for the Academy Award for Best Actor, with The New York Times comparing him favourably to Marlon Brando and Sean Penn.

Notes by Beth Taylor